Archive for Thursday, November 13, 2008

With Peterson, Tush back, state is goal for ‘09

November 13, 2008

Members of the Basehor-Linwood cross country team packed in cars and trekked to state last month to watch junior Kayla Peterson run in the Class 4A state championships.

They wore T-shirts that were in support of Peterson and watched the morning races.

They surveyed the course and watched as runners were crowned champions.

Peterson finished in 48th place.

As the scene unfolded, Basehor-Linwood cross country coach Jeff Venema looked toward next season. In a way, he can’t wait for next fall and is excited about the prospects of the girls team qualifying for state.

The Bobcats will return two talented runners to build around in Peterson and Hannah Tush. Tush, a freshman, was a dominant runner early in the season before suffering a season-ending injury.

“Hannah, when healthy, has the ability to run with anyone in the state,” Venema said. “She has demonstrated that talent and wants to, and she is determined to make up for this year, next year. We have all the confidence she can come back and be an outstanding runner.”

Venema said he believes they can lift the other runners to stronger performances.

“When you can have a couple of runners who you know will be up there in a meet, it takes the pressure off the other girls and they can slot in,” Venema said. “The top two or three can take the heat off the other runners and allow them to just run their race.”

Basehor-Linwood is developing depth on the girls team.

“We don’t lose anybody,” he said. “We have hopes of gaining talent from some eighth-grade runners. We have a chance at having some depth, which, with the way injuries crop up, it is nice to have depth.”

While state might be the goal, the Kaw Valley League goal revolves around defeating the schools that are similar in size.

“We are in a league that has half the teams that are at the 5A level,” he said. “In that light, Tonganoxie and Perry-Lecompton are the teams that we look at trying to beat.”

On the boys side, with a year of development Venema said he expects the runners to compete in the meets they are in. With a group of young runners, a lot of their times would have placed in the top portions of junior varsity races, but were slower on varsity. As a result, he expects the younger runners to physically develop and improve their varsity times.

“We had big turnover this past year and look to build on it,” he said. “We expect to have success next year, but we will see.”

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